Moving on from the Early Majority in Advertising

Moving on from the Early Majority in Advertising

If you've got the Uber app on your phone, and deploy it hourly whether on a trip around town, or a quick ride round the block, you are what the cab service considers its early majority, reports Times of India. Which means you are not really the target audience for its online video driven ad campaign, its first major effort of this sort in the country.

An ad blitz appears an odd choice for a brand that gets a lot of (mostly favourable) word of mouth and which has grown via peer recommendation, a model that's worked across the globe. It has run driver focused campaigns in markets like the US, France and the UK, but has been short on what most of the world recognises and acknowledges as advertising. Let's just say it is in no danger of dislodging the FMCG, auto or tech giants for the 'advertiser of the year' sweep-stakes. But as Ashwin Dias, general manager, Uber India points out, "There was a need to go beyond our early majority. This should help build virality loops in other segments and communities."

Expansion is key for the brand that's currently present across 28 cities in India and has approximately 400,000 driver partners. And such expansion invariably calls for a focused advertising campaign. According to Ajay Kelkar, COO, Hansa Cequity, "Without a brand differentiated positioning, you don't get customer choice. And to get that you need to crack multimedia in a big way." With existing evolved customers likely to check out other options, the brand's best bet is to bring new users into the fold. As Kelkar puts it, "The lifetime value of a new user is extremely high. If you don't get them at the outset, it will get more expensive going forward."

That translates into a different sort of customer for the brand, some of whom may still use their phones mainly for outlandish purposes like actually making calls.In Uber's films, contemporary advertising's most ubiquitous trope is mercifully absent: the tech-savvy millennial clicking selfies in the backseat. Instead you have grandparents getting ready to wish their grandchild a happy birthday at midnight in person; a newly married middle class Sikh couple who escape the vagaries of load shedding by hiring an air conditioned cab and a driver who drops his child off to school before getting back to his job with Uber.

The overarching theme according to Uber and its agency BBH is empowerment. As Russell Barrett, chief creative officer and managing partner at BBH puts it, "I can now leave a place at 2 am and get a cab. That's empowerment."

SJP @DigitalAsian - ShareYaar

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